Doing What's Best for Flora

At The Sanctuary, Flora is free to develop fully into her true elephant self, with her companion Tange by her side.


David Balding showed great self-sacrifice when he gave Flora over in 2004 to a life at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, a life that he felt was more likely than he to meet her needs as she got older.  David chose The Sanctuary because we allow and encourage elephants to be elephants and to live as natural a life as possible.
There is no question that he wanted what was best for Flora and, loving her, he set her free. Free to be an elephant, to socialize with her own kind, to roam the hills and woods of her new home and to develop fully into her true elephant self. Female African elephants are defined by their sociality, and Flora’s Caregivers rejoice as each passing month brings Flora closer to her companion, Tange. Flora now has the opportunity to communicate in her native elephant language with her own species, something that life as a lone elephant never allowed her to do.
We know visiting Flora would mean the world to David, and although our hearts go out to him, our priority is on what is best for Flora, as well as her companion Tange. When David left Flora she reacted very negatively and violently and the decision was made that it could not be allowed to happen again. The risk to Caregivers, to Flora’s companion elephants and to Flora herself was, and is at this time, just too great. While Flora may be excited to see David, we shudder to think what emotions she might go through when, once again, he leaves her. Flora would not understand, but we hope you do, that the risk of a visitation is just too great.
Our decision to allow Flora to continue her emotional development as an elephant has the regrettable consequence that we cannot allow David to see her at this stage in her development, but that does not mean we do not truly honor what he did. The Sanctuary continues to have an open dialogue with David, keeping him apprised of Flora and her new life at The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee.

Rob Atkinson, CEO
The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee
Click Here for an EleNote on Flora & Tange
Click Here for Flora – Finding Sanctuary in Tennessee
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Click Here for Flora’s Bio